Our first week in the NICU has been up and down. I've now been out of the hospital for a week and a, adjusting to being upright again. I'm surprised how little the weakness is affecting me now...though I guess I don't really do a whole lot of activity during the day. I love sleeping in my own bed, sitting up to eat, walking to get something for myself, and standing in the shower. But I hate being away from my boys. I am there for at least 12 hours a day, yet there is this moment of gutrenching guilt each time I leave. Like I am abandoning my children and leaving them with strangers. And they seem to look just a little more sad as we are saying goodbye. Breaks my heart...
The first days in the NICU were far better than I expected. Warren and Dean were both doing great, already on room air with the assistance of the bubble cpap. Their vitals looked good. All tests came back normal expect for PDAs in their hearts which responded quickly to meds. And so I thought I could handle it, no problem. What we learned is that there is a honeymoon period with premies, almost like they don't realize they're out in the world yet. Well, they know now. And it makes them so mad!
They have the most pitiful cries you will ever hear. Warren's is a little higher pitched than Dean's, but they both sound more like whimpers than anything else. Heart rates rise to well over 200 when they get upset, causing monitors to beep. Then, because they're just ticked, they hold their breath. More beeps on the monitor. And then finally their body can't take it anymore and heart rates plummet causing the scary alarm. It takes way too long for their oxygen levels to rise back up to the acceptable 82%. And I just stand there helpless, because there is nothing that can be done.
Today is a good day. Both boys are behaving, I have been reading to them, they are calm. But some days there seem to be this constant alarm going off. One of them is struggling and as soon as he recovers, the other starts up. I can't help, and sometimes I'm in the way. And at those moments, I don't feel like their mom. I struggle to know my place in all this. Those bad days we have to be hands off. So all I get to do for 12 hours is look at them though the plastic. Watch them fight for their lives. And try to trust that God will continue to carry them through. The doctor this morning said being in the NICU is a humbling experience because there is really very little he can do. And at those times, I am so thankful to trust in a God who is bigger than all this. Because otherwise one would just drown in this environment.
Then there are moments when we get to hold the boys and we fall in love all over again. And everything I've been through since January makes it all worth it.
Mommy and Dean
Daddy and Warren